PETE'S PIGSKIN PROGNOSTICATIONS

Only non-football fans think the new year starts on January first. We all know it starts August 31. Everybody's 0-0, the sun is shining, and hope is springing eternal amongst all of the football fans in the USA. (Especially in the South).

Not much amusing went on during the gameless time since the last bowl. Aside from the usual assaults, DUI's and "violation of team rule's" there were two items:

1. An internal investigation of Auburn's academic irregularities by Auburn turned up no problems with the athletic department. What a surprise!

2. A coach who is against the new transfer rule allowing graduates to play immediately at a different school is quoted as saying it encourages disloyalty by the students, and that's a bad thing. So it's OK to blow off your school for an extra couple of $100,000 a year if you're a coach, but it's disloyal to want to continue your education as a student? It is to laugh.

Everybody's in action the first week, and there are a few uncharacteristically closely matched teams (as opposed to the first week's usual cupcakes and compass points).

So getting the easy ones out of the way first:

Hawaii @ Alabama – The Rainbow Warriors (hey NCAA! Isn't this an ethnic slur?) should have their pineapples handed to them. Tide by 24.

Washington State @ Auburn – No trouble for the Plainsmen. Auburn by 20.

Southern Mississippi @ Florida – The Golden Eagles no longer strike fear into the hearts of SEC teams as they once did. Gators by 21.

Western Kentucky @ Georgia – A virtual per-season scrimmage for the Dawgs, warming up to South Carolina next week. Georgia by 40.

Louisiana-Lafayette at LSU – The Bengals send the Ragin' Cajuns (hey NCAA! Isn't this an ethnic slur?) back to La-La land. LSU by 45.

Kentucky @ Louisville – Two years ago the Mildcats started my picking into a downward spiral by upsetting the Cards in Louisville. Not this year. Louisville by 14.

And now for the interesting games…….

Southern Cal @ Arkansas – Arkansas will find out in a hurry if they have a team to be reckoned with. I don't think a team that lost to VU at home last year can have improved enough to take on the Trojans (hey NCAA! Isn't this an ethnic slur?) USC by 6.

Memphis at Mississippi – This has got to be a better game than last year's dismal 10-6 win for the Rebels. Both teams look to be better, and Mississippi is favored by 2.5. However, Memphis seems to have a lot more experience in the trenches, where many games are won or lost. This is still a rebuilding year for Ole Miss. Memphis by 3.

South Carolina @ Mississippi State – Things don't seem to be improving in Starksville. This rare opening game SEC matchup isn't going to improve things. SC by 14.

Cal @ UTK – If the big orange can put their offensive woes behind them (i.e. convince Erik Ainge to throw to teammates instead of opponents) this won't be close. It's anybody's guess as to whether or not this will happen. Once again, I'll let the preseason orange hype influence me and say UTK by 13.

Vanderbilt @ Michigan – Vandy, for some unknown and unknowable reason, replaced MTSU with Michigan. While there was always at least a CHANCE to beat Middle, there's no such possibility playing Michigan on the road. Hail to the Victors!

Michigan by 30.

Flames and comments will reach me (along with tons of spam) at pafx@yahoo.com


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